Standish, Maine – Sophomore pitcher Megan Ferraro (Branford, Conn.) threw a complete-game shutout and junior infielder Rachel Cataudella (Shelton, Conn.) hit an RBI single to lead the Albertus Magnus College softball team past Saint Joseph's (Maine), 1-0, on Tuesday afternoon in the opening round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament at Bailey Field.
With their third shutout-win of the spring against the Monks, the Falcons improve to 22-15 overall. Saint Joseph's sees its two-game winning streak and conference title hopes come to an end to move to 22-18 on the year.
Ferraro kept the hosts off balance all day at the dish, scattering six hits and fanning three hitters. She also walked just two batters en route to her fourth complete-game shutout of the spring. Ferraro retired the side in order in the first and fifth innings on the way to her team-leading 14th win of the season.
On the opposite side, Kristal Smith was masterful in defeat for the Monks. Smith threw a complete game, two-hitter and surrendered just one run, while striking out five Falcons.
After reaching on a fielder's choice in the top of the third, AMC junior Megan Kelly (Bronx, N.Y.) stole second to move into scoring position. Smith would bear down and strike out the next Falcon to come to the plate before Cataudella stepped in with two outs. The third-year infielder then sent a base hit up the middle that brought the speedy Kelly racing home with the game's lone run.
The Monks threatened in the bottom of the fourth, putting a runner in scoring position with no outs thanks to a walk and a stolen base. After back-to-back pop outs, left fielder Megen Pollini sent a grounder through the left side to put runners on the corners. Ferraro induced a grounder to second from the following Monk hitter to get out of the jam and keep the hosts off the board.
In the sixth, Saint Joseph's again put runners on the corners thanks to two consecutive two-out singles before Ferraro again got out of the jam with a groundout.
With two outs and the tying run at first in bottom of the seventh, Albertus Magnus senior center fielder Alyssa Puccilli (Milford, Conn.) made a running catch to seal the victory.
Junior designated player Shyleen Ortiz (New Britain, Conn.) had the other hit for the guests.
The Falcons have kept the Monks scoreless over the last 24 innings. The last times SJC crossed the plate against AMC was in the fourth inning of game two in a doubleheader last March.
Albertus Magnus moves on to the double-elimination portion of the tournament and will square off with third-seeded Johnson & Wales at second round host and No. 2 seed Saint Joseph (Conn.) on Friday afternoon. Start times in West Hartford are to be determined.